A recent sermon for our school had to do with prudence. We played a game called, “Is It Prudent?” One statement was, “Eat fruits and vegetables and stay away from chips.” The contestants had to figure out if that statement was prudent or not prudent. This question spilled out into classroom discussions so this past week, I addressed the fruits and vegetables versus chips question head on.
I brought out a bag of Takis, the most popular school chip. The bag says there are 150 calories per serving. I hope you are sitting down because there are four servings in the lunch-sized bag. That’s 600 calories. I asked which has more calories, four apples, a granola bar, a celery stalk, or a chocolate bar. I then held up the aforementioned items and told them the total calories of them all equaled the chips. I then asked how full they’d feel if instead of eating the chips they ate the entire celery stalk, all the apples, the granola bar and chocolate bar in one sitting. Most said they couldn’t eat that much. Yet, they could imagine eating the entire bag of Takis.
Now my kids’ sermons have object lessons so bear with me a second on this one.
Fact: chips, which are not nutritious, do not fill us up even though they are very high in calories.
Fact: eating four apples would fill the average person up but has few calories compared to chips.
Are there other things in life that are like that? Well, I think posting mean things on line about someone is like eating chips; it fills us with calories but is not good for us. Consider a hug; it is fulfilling and good for us at the same time, like
an apple. I continued with the students that studying for a test is like eating an apple; it is valuable. Cheating on a test is like eating chips — there is no nutritional value and it leaves one feeling empty inside.
After the morning services, I head straight into Bible study. We are reading Paul’s Letter to the Romans where he writes there are two laws at work in him, the law of God and the law of sin. He knows what is right but he does what is wrong. Finally, he declares, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God – through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (7:24)
We know what is right but we do what is wrong. We know celery is better for us but we go for the chips. We know that a hug fills us up and is what we are supposed to do but then gossip arises and we find ourselves empty.
Like Paul, I am not immune. I caught myself this week wondering how to give my neighbor’s dogs fleas. I know that is wrong but I have become tired of listening to their barking and barking and barking. Giving their dogs fleas won’t make my neighbors better dog owners. But, like a bag of chips, it made me feel a little better just thinking of it.
I think that Jesus wants us to live on full, not empty. He wants us to do things that fill us up, like hugs. I also believe that Jesus, being human, knows what it is like to be tempted to eat chips in our world even though he is the only one who never ate any. And he’s the only one who can save us when we do.